#UniShorts: 5 Best Spring Time Activities for Students in Edinburgh 

There’s a wide array of spring time activities on offer for students in Edinburgh: here are our top five!

You may be a first-year student at a university in or around Edinburgh, or a prospective applicant who’s thinking about spending the next four years in Scotland’s capital city. Either way, you’ll appreciate this rundown of the five best spring time activities for students in Edinburgh. 

Don’t forget to check out this article if you want to find out more about similar activities to do in London during the spring months. 

  • Take a Walk Around Holyrood Park  

There are a number of exquisite parks and green areas in and around Edinburgh city centre, from the restful Saughton Park and Gardens in Gorgie to the impressive Princes Street Gardens that divide the New and Old Towns.

However, the pick of the bunch is Holyrood Park, which is a gorgeous green area that rests at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat in the east of the city. 

Here are some of the best features of Holyrood Park: 

  • Duddingston Loch: if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, head beyond Arthur’s Seat to visit this small expanse of freshwater. You can try to spot one of the rare species of flora and fauna that live on or around the Loch, whether it’s the Eurasian bittern, sparrowhawk, or otter. 
  • St Anthony’s Chapel: if you’re willing to put a bit of work in and scramble up the side of one of the jutting crags in Holyrood Park, you’ll find this dramatic set of ruins looking out across the city and Leith.
  • Holyrood Palace: those interested in royal history should visit Holyrood Palace, the official residence for the Queen in Scotland. This ancient palace has been standing since the early 1100s and has seen its fair share of gory and notable historical events, from the murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ closest advisor to the inner workings of the kingdom’s Privy Council. 
  • Best Spring Time Activities for Students in Edinburgh: Have a Barbecue in the Meadows 

As the days become longer, brighter, and warmer, you should take the opportunity to sit in the Meadows with some friends and soak up the sun (before this area gets too packed on hot days in the summer months). 

The Meadows is located to the south of the city centre, nestled between the St George Gardens, Newington, Marchmont, and Bruntsfield.

On bright and breezy days, you’ll find Edinburgh locals, students, and tourists alike playing football or rugby, drinking beer, reading, having picnics, or sunbathing here. 

Here is a list of activities we’d recommend doing in the Meadows during the springtime:

  • Get your mates together for a barbecue: you can buy a temporary barbecue from your local shop and gather your friends for a tasty mid-afternoon or evening barbecue in the sun. 
  • Touch rugby or football: the Meadows is pretty flat and has short grass, so you’ll have a great time playing a football or touch rugby game with a bunch of friends (and strangers, as people will happily join in). 
  • Blare out the tunes: although you’re near the city centre, you’ll find that music doesn’t travel that far in the Meadows, so prop up a (charged) portable speaker in the middle of your circle of friends and blare out those tunes without fear of getting any noise complaints.
  • Visit the Science Festival 

If you’re looking for something a little different to do, try finding an event that takes your fancy at the Edinburgh Science Festival, which takes place in April every year. 

Here are some of the hottest tickets around for the 2022 iteration of this world-renowned celebration of all things science, to give you an idea of what you can go to when the 2023 festival rolls around:

  • Bellfield Brewery Tasting: for just £14 a ticket, you can get an informed and extensive tour of this exceptional brewery, which specialises in gluten-free beer and is situated along the north edge of Holyrood Park, near Meadowbank. 
  • The Material World at Assembly Roxy: you’ll learn all about different fabrics and fibres in this hands-on event, and you’ll also be able to make your own hand-dyed product
  • Circular Cities: if you’re searching for some intellectual stimulation, head to this discussion, where urban planning experts and economists alike will discuss how to create more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and culturally-inclusive cities in the next few decades. 
  • Best Spring Time Activities for Students in Edinburgh: Do a Whisky Tasting 

If you want to make the most of your time as a student in Edinburgh, you’ll need to book a whisky tasting at some point, and what better time to do it than before these events all get booked out during the summer and festival months?

Here are a few of the more affordable (and student-friendly) whisky tastings around: 

  • The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) at the Kaleidoscope Bar: this bar on Queen Street is an Edinburgh institution, and the SMWS does an excellent regular tasting evening where you can get three drams of high-quality malt whisky for just £15 a head. 
  • Johnnie Walker Whisky Experience: the cheapest option at the state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker centre on Princes Street is still quite pricey, but for £28 per head you’ll enjoy a “full sensory (…) immersive 90 minute tour,” followed by three drams of top-notch malt whisky and a 10% discount voucher for the on-site shop. This is an experience for a special occasion, and it’s well worth every penny. 
  • Holyrood Distillery: if you’re looking for a distillery tour, head to this building that’s sandwiched between Newington and the western fringes of Holyrood Park. They offer a self-guided option for £16, or you can opt for the guided tour with an expert (culminating in four drams of whisky) for just £25 per head. 
  • Walk Up Calton Hill to Catch the Sunset 

With the weather heating up, and the Scottish days stretching long into the night, you should make the most of the spring time by getting a few friends together and trekking up Calton Hill, which you’ll find at the end of Princes Street, just beyond the Balmoral Hotel. 

If you’re worried that the trek up Calton will be long and arduous, never fear: it takes around five minutes to get to the top of this hill, and the stunning city views make the effort well worth it. 

Here are some other places where you can catch a spring day sunset in Edinburgh:

  • The rooftop garden at Cold Town House: you’ll get a gorgeous view of the sun setting behind the back of Edinburgh castle, and you can enjoy one of Cold Town’s signature beers while you’re at it. 
  • The Forth Rail Bridge: if you feel like venturing out of town to catch a particularly dreamy sunset, head to South Queensferry to capture a picture-perfect moment as the sun goes down behind the iconic Forth Road Bridge.
  • Cask Smugglers: you can book one of the unique Secret Domes at this bar, giving you and your friends an excellent view of the city’s skyline, with the castle, the National Gallery, and the Scott Monument on full display. 

Final Thoughts

There are a number of awesome activities and gorgeous spots to enjoy in Edinburgh as winter rolls into summer, and we’ve just included a small snapshot of some of the best options on offer. 

If you want more in-depth advice on which universities you should apply to, or on how to bolster your application to give yourself more chance of success in the admissions process, get in touch with one of our team of experts at A&J Education to book a free consultation today.

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